USIS Washington 

13 March 1998


(Commitments honored are the only commitments that count)  (5720)

Washington -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told reporters at the
National Press Club March 12 that "Iraq's complete fulfillment" of
obligations to disarm weapons of mass destruction "is the one and only
aim of the (February 23) agreement" he negotiated with the Iraqi

"I am under no illusion about the inherent value of this or any
agreement," Annan said. "Commitments honored are the only commitments
that count."

The Secretary General said that with the Security Council's unanimous
endorsement of the agreement, "the government of Iraq should
understand that if this effort to ensure compliance through
negotiations is obstructed by evasion or deception, as were the
previous efforts, diplomacy may not have a second chance. No promise
of peace and no policy of patience can be without limits. It is my
sincere hope that the government of Iraq does understand this and
allows UNSCOM to continue its work by giving it full unfettered and
unrestricted access to all sites."

UN inspection teams must be able to certify that Iraq has destroyed
illegal weapons of mass destruction before the UN Security Council
will lift the economic sanctions imposed in 1990 after Saddam Hussein
invaded Kuwait, which led to the Persian Gulf War in early 1991.

"Since the agreement," Annan said, "I am pleased to tell you that we
have had a very successful inspection led by Scott Ritter, and they
entered a site they have not been able to enter for the past seven
years. They did a very credible job, and I applaud the men and women

Annan called for an early end to the long-standing dispute over US
debts to the United Nations. He said that by withholding funds
obligated under international treaties, the United States is
"offending friends and foes alike."

The Secretary General gave assurances that "not a cent" of the $1.3
billion back debt which the United Nations is seeking from the United
States will be used to promote abortion.

Last year, the US Senate approved a proposal to pay nearly $1 billion
in back debts to the United Nations. But the plan bogged down when the
House of Representatives added a provision denying funds to groups
that lobby governments to change abortion laws and President Clinton
refused to accept it.

Following is the UN transcript:



(begin transcript)

Mr. HICKMAN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much
for coming. Welcome to the National Press Club and another NPC Morning
Newsmaker, a very special one. My name is Peter Hickman, and I'm
ViceChairman of the Club's Newsmaker Committee and a freelance
journalist and editorial and media consultant. Before introducing this
morning's newsmaker, I'd like to call your attention to some material
on the table outside, which you may already have. It's a list of other
speakers we have coming and also some material related to this
morning's newsmaker.

And, as you know, that newsmaker is the seventh Secretary-General of
the United Nations, The Honourable Kofi Annan. Mr. Secretary-General,
welcome back to the National Press Club. The Secretary-General spoke
at the Club at least once before, at a luncheon about a year ago. And
also with the Secretary-General this morning are the Deputy
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Louise Frechette on my
left, and Mr. Annan's spokesman, Mr. Juan Carlos Brandt on my far
right. Welcome to you both.

And I also owe a very special thanks to the Director and the Deputy
Director of the United Nations Information Centre here in Washington,
Joe Sills and Joan Hills -- the team of Hills and Sills: I had to say
that -for suggesting and helping arrange this morning's Newsmaker with
Secretary-General Annan.

Mr. Annan's higher education was at the University of Science and
Technology in Kumasi in his native Ghana, at Macalester College in St.
Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics; the Institut
universitaire des hautes tudes internationales in Geneva, where he did
graduate studies in economics; and at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow and earned a Masters degree in
Management. And as many of you probably know, Mr. Annan is the son of
a tribal chief in Ghana, and I understand that, had he so chosen, he
could have inherited that title from his father. Instead, he's in
charge of an organization which has about 180 major tribes and a lot
of smaller ones.

Before occupying the top post at the United Nations, Mr. Annan was the
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping. Earlier United Nations posts
were in management, administration, budget, finance, personnel and
refugee issues.

And, as you know, his topic this morning is "US-UN relations: a
renewable partnership". And, I suppose, Mr. Secretary-General, if the
United States paid its dues that might help with renewal a little bit,
wouldn't it? He met with President Clinton yesterday and, as you know,
a while back he visited President Saddam Hussein in Iraq; I hope he
can tell us something about those visits this morning. After he
speaks, he'll take your questions, and we ask that you please identify
yourself by name and affiliation. We have two floor mikes, I
understand, and when you want to ask a question, just line up behind
the floor mikes and then give your name and affiliation when you ask
the question. And finally, if you haven't done so already, as you
leave, please add your name to the sign-in sheet outside. Thank you
very much.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you very much, Peter. I think you've
defined the problem: that it has always been and still is a tribal

Let me tell you how happy I am to be back in Washington. I enjoyed my
visit here last year, and it's good to have your convictions tested
once in a while. And Washington is always ready to do so when it comes
to the role and value of the United Nations. Joking aside, let me say
how grateful I am for the very warm and constructive meetings that I
have had since I came to Washington, with the President, with Mrs.
Albright, with Secretary Cohen and Sandy Berger on the Administration
side. I also had very positive meetings with Senators Helms, Grams and
Biden yesterday, and today I met with a group of 17 senators organized
by Minority Leader Daschle, and we also had very constructive and
useful discussions. And right after this press conference, I'm going
to the Pentagon to talk to Secretary of Defense Cohen and his senior

As you know, I came to Washington with two main reasons in mind: to
discuss Iraq's compliance with the demands of the Security Council and
to find a way to end the debilitating question of United States
arrears. I believe we've made real progress on both tracks.

On the issue of Iraq, allow me to reiterate what I said at the
Security Council upon their endorsement of the agreement I extracted
from the Iraqi leadership on 23 February: Iraq's complete fulfilment
of these obligations is the one and only aim of the agreement. I am
under no illusion about the inherent value of this or any agreement.
Commitments honoured are the only commitments that count. With the
Security Council's unanimous endorsement of the agreement, however,
the Government of Iraq should understand that, if this effort to
ensure compliance through negotiations is obstructed by evasion or
deception, as were the previous efforts, diplomacy may not have a
second chance. No promise of peace and no policy of patience can be
without limits. It is my sincere hope that the Government of Iraq does
understand this and allows the United Nations Special Commission set
up under Security Council resolution 687 (1991) in connection with the
disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (UNSCOM) to continue
its work by giving it full, unfettered and unrestricted access to all

Since the agreement, I am pleased to tell you that we have had a very
successful inspection led by Scott Ritter, and they entered a site
they have not been able to enter for the past seven years. They did a
very credible job, and I applaud the men and women of UNSCOM.

On the issue of United States arrears, I would also like to thank the
President for his strong support of the United Nations; and I think
some of you heard both him and the Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright, appealing for the settlement of this debt. In his state of
the Union address and elsewhere, he has also said better than anyone
why a strong and fully funded United Nations is in the national
interests of the United States. He reiterated this to me again
yesterday in private and publicly, and I hope we will see progress in
Congress this year. The United Nations is, as the Iraqi crisis has
shown, a unique and irreplaceable instrument for achieving through
diplomacy what the world demands. A stronger United Nations can do
even more for the United States and for the rest of the world.

I am now happy to take your questions.

Mr. HICKMAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General. As I said, please line
up behind the two mikes and give your name and affiliation.

QUESTION: I am from ITAR-TASS News Agency, the Russian news agency.
How would you assess the contribution of Russia to the peace process
and to what we have today? That is the first question, and the second
one is, there were rumours and information that you are going to come
to Moscow recently. Is that true, and if yes, then when?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think by the peace process you mean the Iraqi
peace accords. Russia played a very important role, and right from the
beginning sought a diplomatic solution, sending a Deputy Foreign
Minister as an envoy, and he worked very hard at getting an agreement.
In fact, he stayed on the ground for about a month. When I got there,
he was still on the ground, and he was able to brief me on his
efforts. I was also in touch with Foreign Minister Primakov and
President Yeltsin, as I was with other leaders around the world in my
preparation for the trip. So Russia did play an important role.

Yes, I do intend to go to Moscow, and I will be in Moscow at the
beginning of April, and again to ensure that we all stand together on
this Iraqi crisis and send a message to the Iraqi leadership that they
have signed an agreement and the whole international community intends
to hold them to their fulfilment.

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General. Crystal Wright from the
Fox News Channel, and I have two questions for you. You mentioned in
your opening remarks that the President reiterated to you in public
and private that he wants to resolve the issue of the arrears. Now
yesterday a group of House Republicans came out very loudly, saying
that they're going to tie this legislation with family planning and
that they gave the President a deal last year, and he turned it down,
he didn't want to cooperate. Has the President given you assurances
that he's going to yield some ground on this issue and really try to
free up these arrears and meet the House Republicans sort of halfway
on this? And my second question to you is, do you think it's
appropriate, in light of the fact that the United States has so many
back dues owed to the United Nations, for them to be so vocal in this
negotiation with Iraq and the standoff?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: On the first question, let me say that it is
internal United States politics, and I would prefer not to be drawn
into it. What I can say is that not a cent of the amount of money due
to the United Nations that we are discussing is intended for abortion
or any abortion- related issue. Most of it is for payment of
peacekeeping arrears, is for us to reimburse governments that have put
men and women in harm's way so that this world would be a better
place. These are the countries that offered troops for operations in
places like Bosnia, Mozambique, Haiti and elsewhere. So, I will leave
the American politicians, the Administration and the Congress to sort
out this internal abortion issue. What I am interested in is that at
the end of the day that this is sorted out, the right thing is done
and the United Nations is paid. Because by withholding the funds, I
think the United Nations is offending friends and foes alike. And even
allies like the European Union issued a strong statement last year
when the payment was not made, saying that by the way, that the
withholding of payment is destroying trust among nations. And I think
that was a strong statement.

You will recall that the previous Foreign Minister, Malcolm Rifkind,
from the General Assembly podium said there can be no representation
without taxation. And, in fact, you have to know that Mrs. Albright
was very quick, she came back with a quick retort -- said that
Congress has allowed the United Kingdom to crack a joke they've been
waiting for more than 200 years to crack.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: And the second question? Oh, yes, on Iraq. I
think the United States does have a right to speak about Iraq. First
of all, it was a country that committed troops on the ground. It was a
country that was perhaps much more exposed, and a country that also
led the alliance and is a permanent member of the Security Council.
But I think its voice would even be clearer and louder if it paid its
way. But it does have the right to speak.

QUESTION: You will soon be visiting some countries in the Middle East,
and the perception there is that there is a double standard as far as
the implementation of the United Nations resolutions, Security Council
resolutions in particular. What are you going to tell the leaders in
these countries about the role of the United Nations now that you just
said that the United Nations is indispensable in keeping peace? Why
the Middle East problem is far from the United Nations?

Also I want -- if you can -- you're going to visit Egypt, meeting with
President Mubarak. Would you elaborate a little bit about what are the
topics you want to discuss there.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Let me first address the perception of a double
standard. I know that a perception in some circumstances becomes a

First of all, there is a qualitative difference between the United
Nations resolutions affecting Iraq and the ones dealing with Lebanon
and Israeli-Syrian relations. The Iraqi resolution is under Chapter
VII: an enforcement resolution. Apart from that, there is a history.
We know what happened in the region. We know the Iraqi aggression
against Kuwait and what the international community had to do to
restore normalcy. And so I think we need to look at the facts. There
are differences here.

On the question of the Israeli-Palestinian and, if I may add, the
Syrian-Lebanese track, the Security Council and the United Nations
have not been absent. We have passed our resolutions 425 (1978) and
338 (1973), and we have troops on the ground. In fact, I'll be
visiting the United Nations troops on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
I'll visit them on the Golan Heights. And I'll see our people in
Jerusalem. So the United Nations has been present, but when it comes
to mediation, the parties have agreed on a mediator, and that is the
United States. The process is at an impasse, and every effort is being
made by President Clinton and Mrs. Albright to break this impasse. And
I was able to discuss some of these issues with the President, Mrs.
Albright and Mr. Sandy Berger, and Secretary of Defense Cohen. So
efforts are being made to break the impasse.

In Egypt I will discuss with President Mubarak the Iraqi settlement
and the need for all of us to keep the pressure on President Saddam
Hussein to implement the agreement that we agreed to, as well as to
discuss the Middle East process and to hear what he has to say.

QUESTION: (spoken in French.)

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think there are two questions. The first
question is what will be the role of the diplomats who will be
attached to the inspectors when it comes to the inspection of the
eight presidential sites? And the second question is, you saw Senator
Helms yesterday, he has been a bit critical about the United Nations,
did he give you firm and concrete promises about settling the debt
with the United Nations?

(Spoken in English) Basically, I just said that the diplomats who are
going on the inspection will play the role of observers in assuring
that Iraq keeps its promises, and that we on our side are sensitive to
the fact that we are operating in a presidential site.

On the question of Senator Helms, I indicated that we had a very
friendly discussion, and the Senator has indicated that he wants to
push for the Helms-Biden bill which was agreed to last year and which
would release $926 million to the United Nations with all sorts of
conditions and benchmarks.

QUESTION: Even though you've been in this country a long time, it's
possible that some people may not feel that they know a lot about you.
If you could be reflective just for a moment, what are some of the
forces that shaped your life and particularly your approach to
handling crises?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: That's a tough question. It's always so tough
to talk about yourself. You have to be careful not to be boastful,
apart from the fact that I'm a bit bashful about this sort of thing.
Let me say that I think I have travelled the world. I've worked and
lived on three continents. My early years were shaped in Africa, in
Ghana. I was growing up doing the years of the struggle for
independence. So as a teenager, as a young man, I saw lots of change
taking place around me -- and major changes, where the colonial Power
was handing over the country to what we called then "freedom
fighters", where people like Nkrumah and others came from jail and
became prime ministers and presidents. And so you grow up believing
that change is possible. That all is possible, and that one can dare
to make a difference, one can dare change. And that spirit is helpful.
One is not easily intimidated or impressed by threats and this sort of

Then, of course, I've also had the opportunity to study and work in
America and in Europe. I've also worked in the Middle East, in Egypt
and in Somalia and others, and so you learn to appreciate and respect
other cultures. Having worked with 185 countries over time, you also
learn to raise issues with different nationalities. The way I would
raise an issue and try to convince the Chinese about something would
be quite different from the way I would try to do it with you or with
an Iraqi or with a Russian, and those aspects also help. And I also
try to respect those I deal with regardless of their rank, and I treat
everybody from (unintelligible) to President with respect.

I consult, but at the end of the day I have to reach deep inside
myself to find inspiration to take the right decision. This is a very
lonely position, but there's lots of support and lots of
encouragement, and with that one gets the feeling that perhaps this
impossible job is doable.

You learn -- I told you about a lesson I learned as a youngster in
Minnesota, for example, as a young, tropical person, my first winter
ever in Minnesota. We had the same syllabus as the British, and I
think some of my British colleagues, Sir Evelyn Leopold and others, we
had to do the same syllabus as the British students; we did the
Cambridge School Certificate, the Ordinary and the Advanced level, so
you read about the seasons. I knew all about the winters; I knew about
spring and the others, but in my own country we had two seasons -- wet
and dry. But intellectually, I thought I knew about it until I got to
Minnesota. The first thing I didn't like was that I had to put on
layers and layers of clothing to keep warm, but I decided that was
useful enough. But there was one item that I was determined not to
use, the earmuffs. I thought they were inelegant and ugly, until one
day I went out to get something to eat and I almost lost my ears. I
went out and bought the biggest pair I could find the next day and
walked away with a lesson that you don't walk into any situation and
pretend you know better than the natives. That lesson has stayed with
me all the days since.

QUESTION (BBC): Mr. Secretary-General, you are going to visit the
United Nations troops in south Lebanon. There's a debate now about 425
and 426, and Israel is saying it's willing to withdraw. Is change
possible? Do you think you can change anything there, can you play a
role in asking Israelis or playing a role between Israelis and
Lebanese and ask them to leave as the Lebanese are asking without
negotiations, unconditionally?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yesterday, there was a report emanating from
Jerusalem that I was going to Jerusalem with a seven-point plan to try
to unblock the impasse between Israel and Lebanon and that the Israeli
troops will withdraw from Lebanon and the Lebanese army will fill the
vacuum and the United Nations troops will be strengthened. There is no
such plan, as far as I know; I'm carrying no such plan. But whenever
I'm in the region, I do talk to all the leaders about the peace
process and the need for us to double our efforts for peace.

I would hope that as the United States works hard at breaking the
impasse and getting the parties to the table, the parties will have
the courage and the wisdom required to take the tough decisions. At
the end of the day, it is the parties that have to do it; it is the
parties that have to take those hard decisions that would ensure peace
and eventual prosperity in their region. We have two examples in the
region. Egypt and Israel were able to talk and resolve this. Of
course, there were Security Council resolutions. Jordan and Israel
talked and resolved it. I would encourage the other parties to really
engage each other constructively, seriously. I know it is difficult.
It requires courage and vision and wisdom, and I think they are
capable of it. I would urge them to do it and work with the United
States Government in resolving these issues.

HICKMAN: I know it's just a coincidence, Mr. Secretary-General, but
the Ambassador of Egypt just walked in as you were talking. Welcome,
Sir; glad to have you.

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General. My name is Hannah
Sayjacks, and I'm here on behalf of the Women's International Business
Directory, and I'm wondering if you feel as I do that if women gain
greater financial and business opportunities in the global market
place, this will ultimately lead to greater conflict resolution and
world peace.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: I would go beyond that. I would not limit it to
economic independence; I would limit it to their role in everything we
do in political decision-making, in the work of the United Nations.
I've started. What's better, I have a Deputy here who is making a
dynamic input into that. I think the role of women is extremely
important. It has been demonstrated, with the micro-credits and some
of the efforts that are going on around the world, that women, given
the chance, given the credit, given business advice, can do as well
as, if not better than, men.

FOLLOW-UP REMARK: Well, I'm happy you feel that way. I have a copy of
my Women's International Business Directory for you. And don't worry
about Senator Helms; I'll soften him up with my chocolate cake.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL:  Good! Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Danny Golito, Market News Service. Looking to the future,
back on Iraq, since you signed the agreement with the Iraqis, to what
extent would you be out in front if there are further difficulties in
implementing the agreement? Would you wait for the United States to
complain and then react to that, or would you jump in in front? To
what extent are you responsible for the agreement?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: We are all responsible for the agreement. I
negotiated the agreement with President Saddam Hussein, but the
agreement was unanimously endorsed by the 15 members of the Security
Council on behalf of the 185 Member States of the United Nations. So
that agreement is no longer an agreement of the Secretary-General;
it's an agreement of the entire international community, and we all
need to make it work. In fact, on my trip to the Middle East, this is
one of the issues I will discuss, and on my trips to Moscow, Beijing
and London we will discuss this. I have made it clear, even in
preparing for my trip to Baghdad I got lots of help from President
Mubarak, King Hussein and the Turkish Foreign Minister; from the
French President and the Foreign Minister, from the Russian President
and the Foreign Minister, as well as from the United States and
British military presence. So all forces were brought to bear and I
could tell President Saddam Hussein that I'm speaking in the name of
the international community and they're all with me. We have the
responsibility, all of us, to hold his hand to the fire.

We also need to put in place mechanisms that will allow us to resolve
conflicts as they arise, rather than allow them to fester and to
develop into major crises, and to ensure that we have better
communication with the Iraqis and that some of these small crises can
be nipped in the bud. I have just appointed a Special Representative
for Baghdad who will be my man and will provide a political link with
the political leadership so that we can try to smooth out some of
these things and avoid any repetition of what we went through.

FOLLOW-UP: How does that work in practice? Who is the first sentinel
in this process, the first person, the first layer once there are
difficulties ...

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: It depends. We have several programmes in Iraq.
If there are difficulties on the inspection side, the man in charge is
Richard Butler, and he will have to try to resolve it. If at any time
he thinks he needs my help or it is necessary for them to bring the
attention to my level, I will try to resolve it. If I am not able to
do it, then, of course, the Council is the one that is responsible. My
role is one of good offices.

We also have the huge "oil-for-food" programme, and our man on the
ground there is a man called Dennis Halliday, who oversees the oil for
food. All the other United Nations agencies -- welfare programme,
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and all of them -- are
operating there. The Special Representative, who will be at the
Under-Secretary-General level, will also ensure that our other United
Nations humanitarian activities are effectively coordinated.

QUESTION (Moroccan News Agency): I will ask you the question in
English, though I could do it in French. I have a question on the
Western Sahara. In recent months, the POLISARIO has been obstructing
the identification process leading to a referendum. What is your view
on that, Sir? According to news reports, your Special Envoy to the
Sahara, Mr. James Baker, is said to be considering convening a second
round of talks in Houston next April. Is that correct?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: First of all, let me pay tribute to the former
Secretary of State, Jim Baker, for the outstanding work he's done on
the Western Sahara and that issue by getting the parties to agree to
move forward and really getting them to understand that some of the
difficulties they had could be worked out.

Since his involvement, we've resumed the identification process and
have identified thousands of people. We have had some hiccups and we
do have some problems that we are working on, but I don't think they
are insurmountable at this stage. The future is something that you
cannot know, but at this stage, I don't think they are insurmountable.

Mr. Baker is still engaged in the process and it has always been
agreed that, if necessary, he can bring the parties together for
another meeting. And so the possibility of a meeting (in Houston)
cannot be excluded.

QUESTION: I speak on behalf of many parents -- who probably most of us
are -- you stand as a model for all of us to pursue peace.


QUESTION: Thank you for pursuing your dreams. As a mother myself, I'm
trying to build a kind of peaceful world in my small community. I'd
like to know if you have a message for the youth of today and tomorrow
to perhaps pursue a peaceful and more understanding global society.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think my message to the youth of today is for
them to understand that the world is a diverse place and that there
are many cultures. We need to learn about other cultures and respect
other cultures. We need to respect and accept the religions of others.
We need to respect what is sacred to others. And we need to understand
that we live in an interdependent world, if not a global village, and
we should encourage the children to think beyond their own national
boundaries, to understand that, in the world today and in the world
they are going to live in, we have lots of cross-border issues that
will need to have cross-border solutions, which implies greater
cooperation amongst nations and amongst people, and that tolerance and
diversity are to be celebrated, are to be embraced, and not to be

QUESTION: I have a basic question about the Iraqi deal. You clinched
the deal with the Iraqis in the name of the United Nations, with the
full support of the Security Council. Now, Mr. Secretary-General,
should the Iraqis fail to comply this time, would you support taking
military action against the Iraqis in the name of the United Nations,
not just the United States and the United Kingdom?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think the resolutions are Council resolutions
and I have indicated that, if Iraq were to fail to comply, it may not
have second chance for diplomacy. I have also indicated that, if it
became necessary to use force, some sort of consultation with Council
members will be required and I maintain that position.

QUESTION: In your discussions with President Clinton and Secretary
Albright, did you talk about the situation in Kosovo, and what is the
position of the United Nations on the issue?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yes, we did discuss Kosovo. We did discuss the
latest meeting of the Contact Group in London and reaffirmed the
decisions they took regarding Kosovo, and also their request that the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights play a bigger role
in Kosovo. We also discussed the United Nations military presence in
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the fact that the crisis
in Kosovo may have an impact, not just there, but possibly in
Macedonia and in Albania, and the desirability of maintaining the
Force, because the last decision the Council took was that we should
withdraw the Force in August.

But given the current developments, I intend to review the situation
and make a fresh recommendation to the Council. My sense is that,
given this crisis, the Council is not going to insist or push for
withdrawal of the troops in August.

QUESTION: I want to come back to the question of the payment of the
debt by the United States. Did you talk about possible consequences it
would have if the debt was not paid back? What would these
consequences be and do you have minimum expectations in the very near
future about United States payments?

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: We did talk about consequences. We did talk
about a possible application of Article 19, where governments that are
behind in their payments lose their vote. In fact, I have the
Under-SecretaryGeneral for Management here with me -- Mr. Connor, who
unfortunately is not able to join us here this morning -- and he is
also someone who knows something about figures as the former Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer of Price Waterhouse. He did indicate that,
if we do not get about a $600-million payment this year, the United
States in January could come into default, the application of Article
19 would kick in, and may lose its vote.

Apart from paying the arrears, it is essential that at least $600
million be paid because we don't want to see the United States in that
situation. I'm sure the United States Government would not want to be
in that situation nor would the people of America would want to be in
a situation where the United States loses its vote in the United
Nations because of lack of payment.

(end transcript)